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Melanie Redman-Carr Wins Surfing's Roxy Pro Fiji


Tavarua Island, Fiji (Friday, May 3) World #2 Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) today defeated Heather Clark (SAfr) to win the Roxy Pro Fiji and move into equal first on the current ASP ratings. Competition commenced this morning with remaining round three heats, followed by quarterfinals, semis, and then climaxed with the US$60,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) grand finale.

Surf at 'Cloudbreak' was 6ft (2m) and perfectly offshore early, but unfortunately strong crosswinds and rainsqualls moved in. After round three finished, organizers were forced to place the event on hold for over an hour, and even once it recommenced, only those persons needed either on the judges' tower or out on the marshalling ferry, left the sanctuary of their Island resorts. Still, waves on the inside section of the reef offered potential, it was just a matter of battling the wind and currents to catch them.

Redman-Carr, 26, appeared ominous from day one when she set the pace with the highest total of the round. Having finished runner-up in last year's final, and then only last week winning a World Qualifying Series (WQS) event at her home break in Western Australia, she continued the charge, claiming her first WCT victory since 1999 (Jeffrey's Bay, SAfr). Against close friend and traveling partner Clark, she dominated the 35-minute final to earn US$10,000 prizemoney.

"Yeah, I haven't won for ages, I always get second," laughed Redman-Carr afterward. "I was really stoked about the way my first heat went in perfect waves, but every heat until the final conditions got worse. I would be more stoked if we'd gotten better waves then.

"We were both really happy to be in the final together, but it was still pretty serious," she continued. "It's quite a challenging wave and none of us have surfed it much.

"It's going to be so tight this year," she added, of her position in the world title chase. "Nearly everyone who went bad last contest was in the top half of the ratings this contest. It just goes to show how talented everyone is. It's definitely the most solid year since I've been on tour."

Clark, 30, posted the best single wave score of 9.5, as well as the highest event total for 26-points against newcomer Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) this morning. Despite gaining plenty of reef cuts from her final effort, she was unable to find any more exceptional rides and ultimately required 9.26-points when it concluded. Nonetheless, she is now equal third on ratings.

"Mel's been looking really good from her very first heat," began Clark. "I tried to get some waves out there, but I just kept taking off hoping they would open up and they didn't. Stoked to make the final, though, as last year I finished fifth. I would have loved to win, and was trying my hardest, but if anyone had to beat me I'm glad it was Mel.

"R72,000 sure sounds a lot better than US$6,000," she laughed, when figuring out the exchange rate for her South African bank account.

Finishing equal third today were Serena Brooke (Aus) and Rochelle Ballard (Haw).

Brooke, 26, who was narrowly beaten by Redman-Carr in their semifinal, actually secured the same result in last year's Roxy Pro Fiji. Despite only requiring a low score to advance, she was unaware of the points' difference and had injured her ankle attempting a critical floater during the match.

"It was a pretty hard heat and I actually couldn't hear any of my scores," explained Brooke. "I had two waves at the start, but I didn't catch anything afterward. I caught one little wave at the end for a 3.0, but I wish I knew I only needed a 3.71 for the last six minutes. That's just the way it is with conditions like this. I would have loved to make the final, but I'm happy with a third."

Ballard, 31, suffered a similar fate against Clark, unable to secure the better waves. Having eliminated reigning four-time world champion Layne Beachley (Aus) during their quarterfinal, however, she had set her sights higher than equal third.

"I'm stoked on the result, but I really, really had my eye on the final and winning it," admitted Ballard. "Heather caught the first wave and from then on every priority situation was hers. There would only be one wave in each set, and I'd just be sitting there. I gave it all I got and that's cool.

"Roxy put on such a great event for us," she added. "They spare no expense and do everything they can to just really bring women's surfing up to another level. Unfortunately the waves didn't produce today, but they did a great job and I'm really happy to be here."

Equal fifth in the Roxy Pro Fiji were Kate Skarratt (Aus), wildcard Sofia Mulanovich (Peru), Beachley, and Maria 'Tita' Tavares (Brz).

Beachley, 29, was comforted by long-term boyfriend/big wave legend Ken Bradshaw (Haw) after her loss to Ballard. The Australian improved on her first result of the year, but was still far from happy with her overall finish, needing a lofty 9.01-points after she failed to post any decent scores.

"It was incredibly disappointing," said Beachley. "I just went out there and tried too hard. I fell off nearly every wave I caught, which world champions aren't supposed to do. I put too much pressure on myself.

"Believe it or not, the last time I won a contest was Teahupoo last year," she added, of next weeks' WCT in Tahiti. "It's been a year from being in the winner's circle, which is a lot longer than what I'm used to. I'm looking forward to getting back to Tahiti for sure. Hopefully we get some swell and we'll see what happens."

Official results of the 2002 Roxy Pro Fiji
1st Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 17.25 - US$10,000
2nd Heather Clark (SAfr) 10.5 - US$6,000

Semifinals (loser finishes =3rd and receives US$4,000)
SF1: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 13.85 def. Serena Brooke (Aus) 13.15
SF2: Heather Clark (SAfr) 17.50 def. Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 14.15

Quarterfinals (Loser finishes =5th and receives US$3,000)
QF1: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 14.5 def. Kate Skarratt (Aus) 7.65
QF2: Serena Brooke (Aus) 18.65 def. Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 14.85
QF3: Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 17.75 def. Layne Beachley (Aus) 11.75
QF4: Heather Clark (SAfr) 15.0 def Maria Tavares (Brz) 8.9

Round three (Loser finishes =9th and receives US$2,500)
H6: Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 16.5 def. Lisa Andersen (USA) 15.5
H7: Heather Clark (SAfr) 26.0 def. Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 12.85
H8: Maria Tavares (Brz) 15.6 def. Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 11.3

Current ASP ratings after Roxy Pro Fiji
=1st Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus), Lynette MacKenzie (Aus)-1,300-points
=3rd Heather Clark (SAfr), Jacqueline Silva (Brz)-1,110
5th Kate Skarratt (Aus)-1,090
=6th Chelsea Georgeson (Aus), Rochelle Ballard (Haw), Serena Brooke (Aus)-930
=9th Lisa Andersen (USA), Samantha Cornish (Aus), Layne Beachley (Aus)-760
12th Maria Tavares (Brz)-610
13th Megan Abubo (Haw)-600
=14th Neridah Falconer (Aus), Pauline Menczer (Aus), Amee Donohoe (Aus), Keala Kennelly (Haw)-450

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